Because 'reality is real'
As we come to the end of June for the first time in almost four months students have come back in through the doors of school
All be it to empty lockers I have really enjoyed this week talking and chatting to students from all year groups about their plans for summer and their experiences of the past few months.
For most of them like me they want to come back to school sooner rather than later. They have missed their friends, their teachers and school life. Some have even said they would come back earlier than normal. While they were hugely appreciative for the work the school had done with distance learning and keeping in contact, they all would have preferred to have been in school. Fans of Sci-fi will get the reference from “Ready Player One” by Ernest Cline or Stephen Spielberg’s movie adaptation. Remote learning, online communication platforms and the almost virtual world has allowed us to connect with students, with relations, with work colleagues over the past few months and like in Cline’s novel it has become almost home and intrinsic part of our daily lives but it isn’t real. Being face to face with students, friends, relatives that is what brings true happiness. Reality is real. Being in the classroom can never be replaced by online teaching. Over the past few months being with immediate family more has been the one huge positive from COVID-19 and for that I will be forever grateful.
School Leaders over the past few months have done an amazing job, this has been one of the most challenging times ever for school leaders. School leaders have guided schools through remote learning, through the calculated grades, supported our students and teachers, and dealt with the huge levels of uncertainty. Both as a school leader and as President of NAPD I will be forever grateful for the huge levels of camaraderie shown be fellow school leaders managing and leading through this very difficult time. I have heard of, seen and experienced school leaders coming together to support one another through this difficult time. Always remember that we are not alone in this job and that there are many of us going through the same challenges and that NAPD will always be there to support you. My advice is to take a break for July and early August at a minimum. We have had a long term, many school leaders have worked late into the evening, weekends and that is not sustainable.
Principal of Coláiste Bhaile Chláir, Claregalway, Co. Galway and President of NAPD